The USA Today coaches’ poll did the same Thursday morning and, suffice to say, they disagreed slightly with the team we placed at the top. And, with most of the other slotting, actually.
In the coaches’ initial offering for the 2011 season, Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the nation, garnering 42 of the 59 first-place votes on their way to 1,454 points. At No. 2 is Alabama with 13 first-place votes and 1,414 total points from the coaches. No. 3 Oregon (2) and No. 4 LSU (2) were the only other teams to receive first-place votes.
Rounding out the Top 10 are Florida State, Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.
Last year’s BcS champion Auburn comes in at No. 19; in last year’s preseason poll, the Tigers were ranked No. 23. That ranking for Auburn is the lowest for a defending champion since Minnesota was unranked in the early sixties. TCU, which finished 2010 right behind the champs in the final coaches’ poll, will begin this season at No. 15.
There were five teams not ranked at the end of 2010 who begin 2011 inside the Top 25: No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 22 Georgia, No. 23 Florida, No. 24 Texas and No. 25 Penn State.
Once again, USC is ineligible for the coaches’ poll because of NCAA sanctions.
As expected, the SEC leads all conferences with eight ranked teams, followed by the Big 12 and the Big Ten with five apiece. The ACC, Mountain West and Pac-12 each had two teams in the preseason poll. The Big East was the only BcS conference without a ranked team; West Virginia finished second in the “others receiving votes” category.
Below is the coaches’ complete preseason rankings: